The Denver Guide
LA may be filled with New Yorkers seeking better weather and quality of life, but for real progress in the area of work/life balance, you’ll want to book a trip to Denver. After all, how can anyone justify hanging around the office past five when there are three hundred days of sunshine and some of the country’s best skiing less than two hours away? In addition to the ski resorts, the front range is an easy drive from sight-seeing and camping in Rocky Mountain National Park, fly fishing and rafting in Routt National Forest, and the sand dunes and Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado. The laid-back, active style and unmatched natural amenities have made Denver one of the country’s fastest growing cities for the past several years. On your way in from the airport, keep an eye out for all of the cranes looming above the city: In the past ten years, there’s been a complete transformation of the downtown area, a process that was bolstered by a redevelopment of the historic Union Station—now home to several new restaurants, a sleek bar, and a new hotel. Luckily, the food and culture in the Mile High City have more than kept up with the influx of newcomers—expect plenty of future updates to this guide, as great restaurants and hotels continue to open at an inhuman pace. And since nearby Boulder, a thirty-minute drive or bus-ride north, is a gateway to accessible hiking and home to a dynamic food scene of its own (note Frasca Food & Wine, which is often cited as the best restaurant in the state), we’ve included our favorite picks there, just for good measure.
Aillea1408 Larimer St., Ste. 102, LoDo | 303.997.6209
Nestled in Larimer Square (with another location now at the Cherry Creek Mall), Aillea is the go-to brick-and-mortar shop for clean beauty in Denver. Owner and self-described lifetime beauty junkie Kathryn Murray Dickinson, formerly a beauty industry executive in New York, stocks a rich variety of non-toxic makeup, skincare, hair care, bath & body, nail care, and fragrance—most of which, at the very least, are wholeheartedly goop-approved.
Base Coat Nail Salon3244 Navajo St., LoHi | 303.477.6245
For a non-toxic mani/pedi, head to Base Coat in LoHi, where services on offer run the gamut from a basic procedure (including an aromatherapy hand/foot soak) with a basic color or natural, shiny buffed nails, to deep moisturizing oil treatments with hot towels (perfect for hands dried out and chapped by chilly mountain air) and full-blown nail art. They offer mini mani/pedis for the little ones, too.
Dragontree Spa1521 Pearl St., Boulder | 303.219.1444
The Dragontree is a veritable sanctuary centrally located in Boulder, offering transporting, therapeutic massages—perfect for an escape, even if you’re already on vacation here. Their spa services extend to acupuncture, Ayurveda, and cosmetic waxing; they also provide luxurious head-to-toe treatments in the Sangha Room—from foot baths to head/neck/shoulder treatments to combination packages that literally work on you from head to toe—which can be enjoyed by groups at a time (Sangha is Sanskrit for “a group of like-minded people who join together for mutual enlightenment”). They also have their own inside-and-out body care line, Dragontree Apothecary.
Freyja3456 Tejon St., LoHi | 303.964.9642
Come to this sprawling yoga and fitness studio, housed in a 4,000 square-foot space centrally located in LoHi, for everything from alignment-focused yoga classes to therapeutic spa treatments to dance movement courses. The lofty, light-filled spaces are gorgeous to practice in—and with fully equipped changing and shower rooms available, Freyja easily accommodates yogis on-the-go. At the spa, their Thai yoga therapy (a.k.a. “The lazy man’s yoga”) is tops, and if you’re prone to headaches, request a session of craniosacral therapy; also on offer: acupuncture, cupping, and reiki sessions. (While you’re getting your soul and energy realigned, you might as well get one of their skin-pampering facials, too.)
Nu Fit1601 Wewatta St., LoDo
For a high-energy, core-strengthening workout, Natalie Uhling’s NUFit™ program—classes take place at the Colorado Athletic Club (Union Station location)—combines elements of cardio and spot toning in an intense, hour-long session, set to blasting music. If Natalie’s training clientele is any indication (spoiler: it includes Olympians), this is the class to go to for an incredibly energizing, sweat-breaking, unconventional, and actually fun workout that’s suitable for all kinds of athletes (or anyone looking for a passionate, hardcore way to get in way better shape).
Wonder Press946 Pearl St., Boulder | 720.484.4927
Started by three Boulder natives and childhood friends with a passion for cold-pressed juice and nut milk, it takes just a glance at Wonder Press’s menu to see why we love it: You can get a standard latte with nut milk, or you can get one of their made-to-order “magic” concoctions like cacao, raw coconut sugar and nut milk spiced with cinnamon and cayenne, or a lemon mate tea with maple and cayenne, or a dandelion root and chicory latte. Their juice is the real deal—never pasteurized, never pressure-processed, served in a glass bottle and packed with several pounds of nutritive produce. Even better, they’re committed to producing as little waste as possible, which means they have a bottle exchange program and residual pulp from juices is either donated or used in their house-made muffins. Lots of natural light, abundant pillows (and free wifi) add to Wonder Press’s charm.